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Dawson College Shootings and Gun Control
15/09/2006

Much has been, and will be, made of the fact that Dawson College shooter Kimveer Gill used guns that he had legally registered.

Conservatives, of course, will argue that since Gill's guns were registered, the registry is just a useless intrusion that can and should be dumped.

Meanwhile, Quebec Premier Jean Charest is calling on the Conservatives to maintain the gun registry as it may have prevented other such attacks. He's supported by the police who say the registry has been useful to them.

I think that the real lesson here is that our current measures simply aren't enough. If the police say the registry works, I'm inclined to believe them. But the more important issue is that new initiatives are required.

In my view, what's blocking new initiatives is the requirement that we have a one-size-fits-all program for the entire country. An outright ban on guns, while reasonably desired in cities, would never be politically acceptable in rural areas.

I really have no interest in attempting to change the views of rural Canadians, and in fact can be sympathetic to their needs in this case. But that shouldn't prevent the majority of Canadians who live in cities from removing guns from their community.

I suggest the federal government pass legislation allowing municipalities to ban any or all types of guns from their community, with a violation being a felony under the Criminal Code. (If provincial rights folk are going to get upset, the law can allow provinces to allow municipalities to ban guns.) In other words, it would be a felony to possess any weapon that has been banned by the municipality you're in.

Sure, criminals could easily gather guns from elsewhere and they already possess guns illegally. This wouldn't do a lot to stop gang members. But such a rule could make it a bit harder for nut-jobs to get guns, with little cost or significant inconvenience that we should be concerned about.


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